Feb 17 2009

Always Catching Up



I’m really falling down on my blogging duties lately—darn work anyway.  Why can’t I have 10,000 visitors a day, so I could just spend the day writing and playing bridge?  Ah well, someday.

I started using the Twitter plugin for Pidgin, and it’s a big improvement over the web page.  Using the web page for Twitter is like eating peas with a knife: you can do it if you really have to, but it’s no fun.  Now pidgin takes care of checking for updates automatically, and I can scroll back through them.  Maybe now I’ll even remember to post my own tweets once in a while.

In case any of my fellow FreeBSD users wind up here trying to get it to work, I had to make one tweak.  The default pidgin install doesn’t have the TLS/SSL support needed for the plugin to work.  I fixed that by editing the Makefile in /usr/ports/net-im/pidgin and adding –enable-gnutls to CONFIGURE_ARGS, then building normally.

I’ve also started using a Firefox extension called Feedly for my RSS feeds.  So far, it looks pretty cool.  RSS lets me keep up on a lot more blogs and forums in less time than I used to, but it still takes time checking through them all for new stuff.  Feedly gives me a single list of all the articles in all my feeds, sorted with the latest first, so I don’t have to skip through them all to see what’s new.  It’s like having one feed that includes everything I’m interested in.  Should save me a lot of time.  It works through Google Reader, and I’m not thrilled about tying even more of my activity to Google, but it does what I wanted.  Now if it just updated on its own like that pidgin Twitter plugin, it might be perfect.

I managed to squeak out a win at pool league Sunday night.  My opponent and I were both 4s, so most of the games were close; but I managed to win the first three, so I was feeling pretty good.  Then I lost one.  And then another.  And another.  By that point, I suspect my teammates were thinking, “Oh no, he’s doing it again!”  But I managed to get it together and win the last game with a series of nice leaves, so I was happy about that.

I think I might be almost ready to play bridge against real people.  I’ve mentioned here before that I wanted to learn to play, and I’ve been studying up for a while now, a little at a time.  At first it seemed impossibly complicated, but I’m starting to get it.  When I watch people play online, I can tell sometimes when they make a mistake, so that seems like a good sign.  It seems like the perfect game for math geeks, programmers, and people who like 2000-piece puzzles, so it’s too bad I didn’t discover it years ago.

Playing against real people is a lot different from playing online, though.  That’s certainly true of poker.  Online, there’s no noise, no one bumping your elbow or sneaking a peak at your cards.  You don’t have to count your chips, and things like side pots are handled automatically.  Playing in a room full of real people is a lot more distracting.  Something tells me the bridge club that meets at the Senior Center would be a bit more subdued than a typical Texas hold-em tournament, though.

I can’t believe no one took me up on my fabulous offer of free raffle tickets!  I guess I’ll just have to put my name on all of them, and laugh and laugh and laugh if I win. :)

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